From the Archives

History, documents, and photos

Whatever happened to the archivist?

Written By: information_management - Feb• 05•10

OK, I'm sorry!  

I didn't intend to take a 3-month hiatus from blogging.  With the talks I gave in the fall to two churches, a genealogical society, a historical society, and I'm not sure who else, along with the processing and writing in the early winter, and the book project I was working on in the spring, the blog sort of got pushed to the back burner.  

A book, you say?  Yes – I have been working on a book in Arcadia Publishing's Campus History series.  On Wofford (yeah, I guess that was fairly obvious.)  I submitted the manuscript on Monday afternoon, so it's on its way to being proofread, produced, and published.  

Some years ago, I got a request from Arcadia Publishing to consider writing a Wofford book for their series.  At that point, our book, Wofford: Shining With Untarnished Honor had just been published by The Hub City Writers Project, and it was not a good time to prepare another one.  However, five years after that book was published, and with a different focus, the time seemed right to me to pursue another project.  

Some people have asked me why we needed another Wofford book now and how this one is different.  It's different in several ways.  The anthology of 2005 was more about writing, presenting attractive images, and sharing some of the documents of the college.  The book I've written this winter is more focused on vintage photographs.  It highlights the collection in the archives more than anything else.  

Another reason to pursue another Wofford book was that many of our neighboring institutions have books in the Campus History series.  On the shelf at our neighborhood bookstore, I've seen books about most South Carolina colleges, and Wofford is a pretty glaring omission from that collection.  

So, I pulled together 206 images, many that have only recently become available and others that have never been published until now.  Some of them highlight different collections in the archives, others come from yearbooks, and others came from the collection of the Communications Office.  Each chapter has about 40 images from different eras, from the 19th century to the fall of 2009, but the book focuses more heavily on the pre-1972 era.  I wrote picture captions for all of the pictures as well as short chapter introductions and a 4-page general summary of the college's history.  

With that out of the way, I'm going to try to get back to a regular schedule of writing twice a week.  Interim is over and the spring term begins next week, my student assistants will be back and ready to help me re-shelve and re-file all of the books and folders I pulled for the book, to help me file all of the things that have arrived in the past few months, and to help me answer some of the reference questions that have been set aside.  I've been looking for minister photos this week for a church in Greenville County, and next week, we'll be copying a handful of Methodist obituaries for people.  And, next week, we'll also be opening an exhibit on African American life in the South Carolina Upcountry based on materials in archives and special collections at Wofford.  

I've got a list of topics for the next few weeks – including a few legendary professors and noteworthy alumni – and maybe I'll try to give you a sneak peek of some of the pictures that will be in my new book.  And as I get back into processing the college's records, and perhaps start thinking about collecting some oral history, I'll be sharing things I learn here. 

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